With all-items inflation running at more than a decade high of 5.6 per cent as at May, the $1.5 billion relief package announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday will cushion some of the resulting pain. But households and businesses must also do their part to offset the impact of higher prices. While the package - which includes direct payments and utilities rebates to households as well as several forms of assistance to businesses - may seem modest in size at around 0.3 per cent of GDP, it is carefully targeted. Among households, lower-income and other vulnerable groups will benefit the most. For instance, GST cash voucher recipients, who tend to be hardest hit from rising prices, will get an extra $300 in cash, one-person households on ComCare assistance will get $40 more per month, and eligible drivers of taxis and private-hire cars will receive a one-off payment of $150 to defray higher fuel prices.
Support for business is targeted as well. Higher levels of co-funding for wage increases under the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme and the six-month extension of the Jobs Growth Incentive which supports employers to hire eligible mature job seekers and other disadvantaged workers will also benefit those most in need. And grants to enable the adoption of energy-efficient solutions under a new scheme will be confined to small and medium-sized firms in sectors hardest hit by higher energy prices, such as food services, food manufacturing and retail.